Northern Ireland

Legal history to be made a Seamus Ludlow case goes to Dublin's Supreme Court

Seamus Ludlow (47) was shot dead in Co Louth in May 1976
Seamus Ludlow (47) was shot dead in Co Louth in May 1976 Seamus Ludlow (47) was shot dead in Co Louth in May 1976

LEGAL history will be made in Dublin this week when the Supreme Court hears the case of a Co Louth man killed by loyalists 45 years ago.

Seamus Ludlow (47) was shot dead outside Dundalk in May 1976 by a gang believed to include members of the UDR and outlawed Red Hand Commando.

On Thursday a panel of seven judges will hear details of the case, which has been brought by a relative of the murdered man who believes he is entitled to a proper investigation under Article Two of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects the right to life.

It is one of two similar cases being brought by Belfast-based legal firm Phoenix Law to the Supreme Courts in Dublin and London.

The case of the Hooded Men will be heard before the Supreme Court in London later this month, again on similar grounds.

The group included 14 Catholic men from across the north who say they were subjected to state-sanctioned torture when they were interned in 1971.

In 2006 a joint Oireachtas committee recommended that two commissions of investigation should be set up to investigate the issues around the Ludlow case.

The recommendations came after a report into the murder was produced by retired High Court judge Henry Barron.

To date these commission has have yet to be put in place.

It is believed Mr Ludlow was killed as he made his way home from an evening at the Lisdoo Arms pub and his body was later found on a narrow lane outside the town.

In 1979 the RUC gave gardaí the names of four loyalists it suspected of being involved in Mr Ludlow's killing but nothing was done with the information.

In 1998, named suspects were arrested and questioned by the RUC.

Two of those suspected of involvement later allegedly made admissions and even drew sketches of the scene of the shooting.

A year later the Department for Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided not to bring prosecutions.

Solicitor Gavin Booth last night said the Ludlow case is the first Troubles and Article Two linked hearing to be heard at the Supreme Court in Dublin.

"The field is only half ploughed, finish the job," he said.

"The state owes and obligation to the family to have a proper Article Two investigation to discharge its duty both in the interests of the family and the public interest."

Mr Booth revealed how relatives of Mr Ludlow held a remote meeting with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald yesterday ahead of the hearing.